THE DANGERS OF HISTORY
E spite of the development of technical historical
iquiry during the seventeenth century, and the
recognised importance of historical study in the systems
of eighteenth-century thought, it would seem to be true
that the modern rage for history was born out of the
morbidities and nostalgias of the Romantic Movement.
It was assisted by the reaction against the French
Revolution, which in England—particularly in the teach-
ing of Edmund Burke—tended to confirm the nation in
its attachment to its own past and its belief that the
liberties of the country went back to times immemorial.
Englishmen have particularly prized the continuity of
their history, and have found something rich and
fruitful in the very fact of continuity; all of which was
to have its effect on our interpretation of our national
story. In Germany, on the other hand, during the
Romantic Movement, men were particularly conscious
of the tragic political situation of the country in modem
centuries and they tended to contrast it with the glories
of the Holy Roman Empire of medieval times.
In general, we see in the nineteenth century one of the
most important movements in the whole story of